FROM PASTOR MEYER’S DESK: As I sit down to write this opening article for this last newsletter of 2016, it is the morning of November 3. I would normally wait another week or so to do it, but something happened last night that is worthy of my time to write it now. Amid all the scandals and hub-bub surrounding this year’s presidential election which will be over by the time you read this; amid all the violence that has wreaked havoc upon many of our major cities and especially the men in blue who serve and do their best to protect those cities; amid the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks not just here in our country but all over the world, there was a history-making event that occurred last night and that will be remembered for years to come. And what exactly was it? The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Now if I had just written that statement about the St. Louis Cardinals, it would have definitely been exciting for those of us who are Cardinal fans; it would have been noteworthy and newsworthy, but it wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. For the Cardinals have accom-plished that feat 11 times dating back to 1926. The Cubs, on the other hand, had not won a championship for 108 years, meaning that Christmas came a little early for all of you Cub fans who have stuck by your team and remained loyal to them in spite of that rather dismal statistic. I commend you. I admire you. I congratulate you. And I want you to know that I was right there with you last night cheering your Cubbies on through a roller coaster ride of a game that finally ended with a victory celebration on the field that had been more than a century in the making. I have to confess that I didn’t see the end result “live” because when it started to rain pretty hard and they rolled out the tarps, not knowing how long the rain delay was going to be, I turned off my TV and drifted off to sleep. When I awoke in the morning, however, the first thing I did was to check the score, fully expecting to discover that the Cubs were going to come up empty-handed again, but quite pleased to see that the final outcome fell in their favor. The only way it could have been better was if they had won it in Chicago.
Well, a few Sundays ago during my announcements I did a quick informal survey to see how many Cardinal fans were cheering for the Cubs in the post season. I was amazed at how many people raised their hand. I was one of them and I explained why. I jokingly said, “If the Cubs win the World Series, that has to be a sign that Jesus is coming back soon!” Well even though that’s not really in the Bible, the fact that He is coming back is. And as we enter the Advent season in particular, one of the emphases of that time of the year is the second coming of Christ. So that’s going to be the focus of my two mid-week Advent services this year that I will be preaching. The first Advent service will actually be a Christmas concert featuring Tim Brinkman who did a concert here several years ago and was well-received. But on December 7 and 14 I will be focusing upon the return of Christ to this earth at the end of time, and most specifically something called “the Rapture.”
I’m sure most of you have heard that term before and have probably been a bit intrigued and maybe even a bit confused by it, so I want to help you understand it better because there are several different views floating around in Christian circles these days as to what will actually happen at the Rapture and especially what will occur following the Rapture. For example, back in October Marilyn and I attended a Celebrators Conference in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where one of the guest speakers was Dr. David Jeremiah. We had heard him speak several times before at Worldview Weekend conferences and the last couple of times we were in attendance he seemed to be stuck on the subject of the end times. And since we don’t exactly agree with his particular view which for the record is called premillennialism, I felt like I wasn’t getting anything out of it. So when we were on our way to the Celebrators Conference I told Marilyn that while I was looking forward to hearing David Jeremiah speak since he is a remarkable Bible teacher, I was hoping he didn’t speak on the Rapture or anything else having to do with the end times. Well, guess what? He had recently written a book on that subject and it had been released for sale just a week before our conference, so need I tell you what he spoke about??? Sure enough, it was the end times, but in particular the Rapture. So with a bit of a cynical attitude I sat back and began to listen to what he had to say. As he spoke I found myself taking lots of notes. And when he was finished I leaned over the Marilyn and said, “We agree with everything he said in that presentation.” And she said, “That’s what I thought.” Now had he gone any farther as to what he believes will happen after the Rapture, I know we would have been in disagreement with him. But I couldn’t argue at all with what he said about the Rapture itself. In fact, I got so excited about it that I decided I would make that the topic of my mid-week Advent sermons this year. So if you want to learn some fascinating things about this momentous and climactic event of human history, I cannot encourage you enough to be in attendance for those two Advent services on December 7 and 14 for as we spend much of this month preparing ourselves for the annual celebration of our Savior’s birth, we also need to be preparing ourselves for that day when He will return to this earth in all His blazing glory and take His children home with Him to heaven. And if you want to read the key passage in the Bible that speaks of the Rapture, just turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and there you’ll find it.
And while I’ve got a little room left here Marilyn and I want to just take the opportunity to wish each and every one of you a most joyous, fulfilling, and Christ-centered Christmas as well as a blessed and healthy new year. This year has been a tough one for a lot of you and we know that it will be especially hard to make it through the holidays. So rest assured that you are in our prayers and that we feel so honored and blessed to have been able to serve you for the past 24 years.
Looking forward to another great year and especially a great eternity, all thanks to Jesus!